Description: We will describe the trail from Echo down to Carson,
but many people do this hike in the reverse direction as this reduces
the climbing and increases the descending.
trail is part of both the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Tahoe Rim
Trail (TRT). Look for the trail signs on small wooded posts that mark
the beginning of the trail and any major trail junctions. The trail
heads south from the parking lot at Echo Summit and climbs steadily
for the first 2.5 miles. In this area you are hiking through Red Fir
Forest with a sprinkling of Lodgepole Pine, Incense Cedar, Western White
Pine, and even some Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pine. After a couple of miles,
the trail flattens for a bit the begins to climb again until it reaches
nearly 9000' before descending to Showers Lake. Along the way, you will
wander past high Sierra meadows and through classic, open Red Fir Forest.
A couple of trails intersect with the PCT along this section, but are
well marked. Be sure to stay on the PCT / TRT!
Showers Lake, the trail descends steeply for a mile or so before entering
the Upper Truckee River drainage. This leads to the incredible Meiss
Meadows area, a huge alpine meadow along the banks of the river. After
a couple miles of flat hiking along the meadow, a final climb out of
the meadow area leads to the final descent to Carson Pass. In all, over
11 miles of hiking and (from Echo to Carson) 2875' of ascent and 1700'
is a classic Tahoe hike and is a must do for any serious Sierra hiker!
Concerns: This trail is popular and gets a lot of summer
use. Please dispose of waste at least 200 yards from any water being
sure to bury it at least 6 inches deep. Giardia is a common water parasite
that is present in all Sierra lakes and streams so be sure to filter,
treat or boil water.
Watch for rapidly changing weather in this part of the Sierras. Be prepared
and follow good
back country travel techniques. This is a long hike and will take
a person in good shape 6 hours to complete, perhaps longer. Bring lots
of water and a filter.